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Poisonous and Venomous snakes, spiders and insects in Canada

Updated on December 5, 2015

Poisonous snakes, venomous spiders and dangerous animals in Canada, the perfect recipe for an adventurous vacation in Canada.

Canada is an exciting and extremely clean country, with many different locations which would suit any traveller. But like every country in the world, there are nasty and vicious predators which kill and main people every year.

Ranging from massive 550lb bears which can maim people, to tiny spiders which can cause excruciating pain from a single small bite.

Wherever you travel, you need to be prepared for stinging or biting insects and other creatures that can bite and inject their venom into you.

Venomous Brown Recluse Spider
Venomous Brown Recluse Spider
Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider

The infamous Brown Recluse Spider has made Canada its home. This spider is responsible for hundreds of thousands of bites around the world and many fatalities each year, yet it is only a very small spider, and is only between 6-20 millimeters in length.

A bite from this spider may go unnoticed, as they are so small, but within minutes, the venom will work its way through your veins and arteries. The bite area will become itchy and swollen, nausea and vomiting may follow, then other rashes, fever, muscle and joint pain, possible abdominal cramps unconsciousness then death.

But only in extreme cases, many bites come to nothing and anti-venom's are given once you seek medical attention.

The Brown Recluse Spider can be found in mainly undisturbed areas, such as log piles and unused bedrooms, but they have been found in clothes drawers, shoes, under beds and in bed linen.

Children and the elderly are more at risk from these bites, with children of seven years and younger making up the most of fatalities each year from Brown Recluse Spider bites. This is a dangerous spider, do not take any risks, if it is in your home, get it out, squashed or otherwise.

Black Rattler
Black Rattler

Massasauga Snake

This snake is from the rattlesnake family, and mas many different names including the Black Rattler.

Their venom is haemotoxic, which once injected into a human, prevents the blood from clotting, which can cause internal bleeding, leading to a slow and painful death.

Most Black Rattler snake bites occur when they have been trod on by hikers or people trying to pick them up. If bitten, there is an anti-serum which can easily be administered by medics.

Do not ignore the bite, it might not seem much from the initial bite, but the venom will be working its way through your body, seek medical attention quickly.

Tourist Warning: Human Kidney Harvesting In Canada

550lb of Pure Muscle
550lb of Pure Muscle

Black Bears

American Black Bears and Brown Bears do roam loose in Canada, the Black bear easily out numbers the Brown Bear, by a ratio of two to one.

Black bears can run at speeds of up to 50 kilometers an hour, so out running a bear is pretty difficult, and they can weigh 550 lb. Bears are very strong and can flip over rocks weighing more than 325 lbs with a single swipe of their paw. Black Bears are very territorial, and will mark their territory by clawing the trees and rubbing their bodies against them, and they can also climb the trees.

They will approach human habitats regularly for the food in garbage, but instinct has taught them to keep away from humans. Many bear attacks are only when you are in their territory, and they have young cubs, which is usually two cubs per litter.

But if you are out in the wilderness and there are signs of bears, keep clear, they could attack, and one swipe of that paw and your body could be pulverised.

Black bears do not actually hibernate, they just get very tired and will retire to their caves about October / November, but they are still active and will attack if provoked.

The Massive Moose
The Massive Moose

The Moose

The Moose, or Elk, is usually a timid creature and lives alongside man in harmony, until they are agitated, then they will charge, and these animals have attacked mankind more times than bears have.

The injuries from these animals when they are charging, are not very serious, a few broken ribs and limbs on occasions, many human fatalities actually occur when the Moose are run over.

The male Moose can weigh 1500 lbs, ( 720 kg ) and can stand tall at 7 foot ( 2.1m ) tall, when a travelling car hits a Moose, the body of the Moose can easily smash into the window screen, and can crush the driver, which does happen, which is why there are Moose warning signs on roads, near where there are Moose about.

When the females have given birth, they become very protective, and will charge at anything that comes to close.

Gorgeous Arctic Wolf
Gorgeous Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf

The Arctic Wolf is an absolutely beautiful creature, and only lives in the farthest reaches of Canada, on the Islands of the Canadian Arctic.

Few people will ever see an Arctic Wolf in the wild, because of their location. But the Gray Wolf is a different story. These are more numerous and can be seen in the wild in different parts of Canada.

Attacks on man do happen, but usually only when the wolves are in a pack, but they will maim and eat a man, leaving the remains for the other wild scavengers. When a wolf howls, they are mostly calling other wolves, ready to go hunting, so if you are in the wilderness and hear wolves howling, there will be a pack on the hunt soon, always take precautions.

Coyotes are victims of Wolves, with lone wolves or packing attacking the den of a coyote family and digging out the pups and eating them, as well as the adult coyote.

For a list of victims, please see the comments box below.


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      Murphy 2 years ago

      There definitely brown recluse spiders in Ontario. My friends young son was bitten by one that was in his bed linen in SmithsFalls, Ontario. He was quite sick from this. Bite was quite inflamed by the time they realized and got him to a doctor. So yes, they are here in Ontario, Canada!

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      warren campbell 3 years ago

      You are missing one there is also the Prarie rattle snake found mostly in drumheller alberta I have personally caught and have been bit they have a

      Heamotoxin as well.very pain full bite

    • profile image

      3 years ago

      That does look creepy

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      Bc43 4 years ago

      That grrl - the brown recluse is all over Canada, a couple of my friends have been bitten by them, it's not pretty. The massasauga rattler, although endangered, can be quite a bit in certain parts of southern Ontario, especially around the Georgian Bay Area, Meaford, Owen sound and up the Bruce peninsula. There are also timber rattlers in Ontario although there has not been a sighting of one in quite some time. In western canada, BC and Alberta, it's not the massasauga you have to worry about, but the western rattler or prarie rattler. BC is also home to a healthy population of black widow spiders.

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      Sam 4 years ago

      Re. Alyssa from northern BC. Black spider with red hourglass on abdomen could very well be a black widow. Dangerous but I don't think aggressive if left alone. Maybe the author could comment.

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      dude 613 5 years ago

      massassauga snake captured in ottawa costco parkinglot

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      XxDaKoTaxX 6 years ago

      There are no brown recluse spiders in Canada, well at least ontario

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      Annie 6 years ago

      This page gives me and not only me information it help my kid with her homework I want to come now to this page a again another time.

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 6 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I haven't seen a snake of any kind in over 30 years. The last one was a garden snake when I was a kid. I think whatever poisonous snakes are left here have found some pretty remote areas to live. It's not like they seek people out on purpose. I know we can get the odd black widow spider but I've only seen them on TV. I've never noticed the brown kind you have written about. But, there are lots of spiders that colour and I didn't know they were something to watch for. It's funny but I've had more trouble with poison oak and poison ivy than any poisonous animal.

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      Alyssa 6 years ago

      So.. I just move and now live in nothern BC, and I've noticed these weird black spiders with like.. a red hourglass on them? Should I be concerned?

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 6 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      Hi Billericky-- Interesting hub. I didn't know that the Recluse had gotten that far north. Thanks for info. I would like to say something to D-man about the question he had. The thing that you described, could be one of two things. A Millipede, or a Centipede. Millipedes are harmless, Centipedes have a poisonous claw and can inflict a painful bite, depending on how big they are.

    • RussellLHuey profile image

      RussellLHuey 6 years ago

      Excellent hub! I'm glad I know this info. Thanks.

    • philipandrews188 profile image

      philipandrews188 6 years ago

      Massasauga Snake - scary thing.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Very good hub,thanks for sharing.

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      D-man 7 years ago

      Any poisonous, or more importantly, any venomous insects in Canada? I ask because I live in Scarborough and I have found these creepy crawlers, they are brown with maybe a hundred legs (they look like caterpillars), and they look really scary. I don't know what they are but are worrisome cuz they climb walls, my desk...maybe even my bed...yikes...I will try to take pics but if anyone can reassure me that these things are not dangerous then maybe I'll be able to live with them.

      PS: I live in a wooded area with many skunks, raccoons, foxes, hummingbirds, hawks and many spiders and insects...this is the city but I'm in a bucolic part...

    • billericky profile image

      billericky 7 years ago from Plymouth

      Hi again Boomergirl, as for the Massassagua snake, the families of the two reported deaths of people by this snake, may have a difference of opinion with you.

    • billericky profile image

      billericky 7 years ago from Plymouth

      Thanks boomer, but, in 2010 a female teahcers body was found in the snow with wolf tracks around her, the coroners cause of death was "multiple injuries due to animal mauling"

      In 2009, a man working on a haystack was attacked by a wolf, and so were three other people who interviened

      2009 again a woman was attacked by a wolf ( this report was unsustanciated though )

      2009 a 10 year old boy was mauled by a wolf as was a six year old girl in a forest in 2006

      In 2005 a man was found half eaten withing 15 hours of going missing in an area where a small pack of wolves were known to hunt, after a two year inquiry, it was found to be the fault of wolves

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      Boomergirl 7 years ago

      Get your facts straight. The Massassauga is an endangered species and the likelihood of danger to humans is next to nil. And wolf attacks. Please.

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      ankigarg87 7 years ago

      very nice hub !

    • TheMarquis profile image

      TheMarquis 7 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies

      In my country we have a saying all snakes are bad snakes, therefore we kill them if they venture in our way.